[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address 54.163.147.69. Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
Original Investigation
July 2016

Genome-wide Association Studies of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in 2 Cohorts of US Army Soldiers

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego (UCSD), La Jolla
  • 2Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, UCSD, La Jolla
  • 3Psychiatry Service, Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, California
  • 4Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston
  • 5Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research, Broad Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, Cambridge
  • 6Department of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland
  • 7Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 8Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
  • 9Department of Genetics, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
  • 10Department of Neurobiology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
  • 11Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • 12Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • 13currently with Department of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
  • 14National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
  • 15Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Psychiatry. 2016;73(7):695-704. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.0350
Abstract

Importance  Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a prevalent, serious public health concern, particularly in the military. The identification of genetic risk factors for PTSD may provide important insights into the biological foundation of vulnerability and comorbidity.

Objective  To discover genetic loci associated with the lifetime risk for PTSD in 2 cohorts from the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army STARRS).

Design, Setting, and Participants  Two coordinated genome-wide association studies of mental health in the US military contributed participants. The New Soldier Study (NSS) included 3167 unique participants with PTSD and 4607 trauma-exposed control individuals; the Pre/Post Deployment Study (PPDS) included 947 unique participants with PTSD and 4969 trauma-exposed controls. The NSS data were collected from February 1, 2011, to November 30, 2012; the PDDS data, from January 9 to April 30, 2012. The primary analysis compared lifetime DSM-IV PTSD cases with trauma-exposed controls without lifetime PTSD. Data were analyzed from March 18 to December 27, 2015.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Association analyses for PTSD used logistic regression models within each of 3 ancestral groups (European, African, and Latino American) by study, followed by meta-analysis. Heritability and genetic correlation and pleiotropy with other psychiatric and immune-related disorders were estimated.

Results  The NSS population was 80.7% male (6277 of 7774 participants; mean [SD] age, 20.9 [3.3] years); the PPDS population, 94.4% male (5583 of 5916 participants; mean [SD] age, 26.5 [6.0] years). A genome-wide significant locus was found in ANKRD55 on chromosome 5 (rs159572; odds ratio [OR], 1.62; 95% CI, 1.37-1.92; P = 2.34 × 10−8) and persisted after adjustment for cumulative trauma exposure (adjusted OR, 1.64; 95% CI, 1.39-1.95; P = 1.18 × 10−8) in the African American samples from the NSS. A genome-wide significant locus was also found in or near ZNF626 on chromosome 19 (rs11085374; OR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.70-0.85; P = 4.59 × 10−8) in the European American samples from the NSS. Similar results were not found for either single-nucleotide polymorphism in the corresponding ancestry group from the PPDS sample, in other ancestral groups, or in transancestral meta-analyses. Single-nucleotide polymorphism–based heritability was nonsignificant, and no significant genetic correlations were observed between PTSD and 6 mental disorders or 9 immune-related disorders. Significant evidence of pleiotropy was observed between PTSD and rheumatoid arthritis and, to a lesser extent, psoriasis.

Conclusions and Relevance  In the largest genome-wide association study of PTSD to date, involving a US military sample, limited evidence of association for specific loci was found. Further efforts are needed to replicate the genome-wide significant association with ANKRD55—associated in prior research with several autoimmune and inflammatory disorders—and to clarify the nature of the genetic overlap observed between PTSD and rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.

×